Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Property Puzzle

To the right is the house my great-grandfather, Edward Jesse Bickerstaff, built. I think. So I was told by my mom. She said Edward Jesse was a carpenter. Census records tell me that at different times in his life he was also a farmer (1900), a masonry contractor (1910), and a shearman at a lath works (1920).

This house is on Morris Street in Mineral Ridge, Ohio. E. J. and his family moved to Mineral Ridge after 1910 and before 1914.

I was scouting around at the Trumbull County Auditor's website the other day to see if I could find any information about the house. There was a photo and layout of the house and it listed the owner, property and house values, and date it was built: 1908. 1908?!!! How could E. J. have built the house in 1908 if he was still living in Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1908?

I continued to look around the auditor's website and came upon another interesting find. In the image to the left you might be able to see the following:
"BICKERSTAFF PLAT NO. 2 VOL. 35 PG. 107" and

I don't yet have much experience with property records but from the purchase of our own home I believe that a plat is named after a person who bought a somewhat large tract of land early on and resold smaller portions at a later date. From all the research I've done, there were no other Bickerstaffs in Trumbull or Mahoning Counties before my E. J. and his family moved there.

The puzzle for me is figuring out how a house was built in 1908 and plats were named after my great-grandfather who didn't move to the area until after 1910.

I sent an email to the Trumbull County Recorder who has information about land records. I hope to sort this out.

While all of this doesn't technically have anything to do with genealogy, in my mind it has lots to do with family history. Information about moves from one location to another, property purchases, and occupations helps me put flesh on the bare bones of the names and dates of people I never knew in person.


  1. Interesting info - maybe he bought the property before moving there in 1910. He could have bought it toward the end of 1908 and moved in early 1910...really just letting the property sit until he got there...or maybe having it built during that time period. Looking forward to what you find out.

  2. I like Mary's idea. Very interesting. Please give us an update when you find out more.

  3. Hello, It was Ed Bickerstaff Jr. his brother Jim and mother Agness that sold the land in est. 1977 to a contractor. It was then subdivided into the lots you see on the land records. I sent a message that I hope gets to you with some information on this property. Really enjoy your site, thank you for sharing. Debbie of Morris St. in Mineral Ridge.


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